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Spring time for Tyrone native Rick McNelis triggers another season of "teaching history" and bonding with friends at reenactments of the Revolutionary and the French-Indian wars.
Beginning this month, he and his wife, Nancy, will participate in nearly a half a dozen such re-enactments of the two wars.
Tyrone native Rick McNelis
"I really enjoy the aspect of teaching the youth and other people about our history. There is so much about the Revolutionary War and the French/Indian War that there is no way it can all be covered in the classroom. Teachers only can touch lightly on our past, on our history," McNelis said.
An avid history buff since grade school, McNelis said he likes participating in re-enactments because "we are giving honor to those people who did something for our freedom, but I feel have been overlooked."
A resident of Pleasant Gap who works for an electronics outfit, McNelis said re-enactments "are a way of keeping alive the memories and sacrifices made by those who were in the wars."
He and his wife travel mostly along the East Coast to attend a half a dozen re-enactments at various parks and forts.
"The re-enactments are an inexpensive vacation for us. Once you acquire your basic equipment - your weapons, your clothing, your cooking ware and tent - then your only cost is the price of fuel. You take your own food with you and you cook it. Most of our overnights are free because we are providing a program at the historical sites," McNelis said.
"We're teaching history," he added.
He and his wife have been going to re-enactments together for more than a dozen years and during that time, the couple have developed very close friendships that would not have come about any other way.
"I'd say half the people on the list in my phone are re-enactors," he said.